• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

John Kerry Boating During Egypt Coup

john-kerry-yacht

While the military was ousting Egypt’s democratically elected president, the US Secretary of State was on his yacht.

CBS (“John Kerry on his boat during Egypt upheaval, State Dept. concedes“):

As regime change was unfolding in Egypt, Secretary of State John Kerry spent time on his boat Wednesday afternoon in Nantucket Sound, the State Department acknowledged to CBS News on Friday, after repeatedly denying that Kerry was aboard any boat.

“While he was briefly on his boat on Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day including participating in the President’s meeting with his national security council,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, naming a series of Egyptian and international officials Kerry had spoken with on Wednesday.

Psaki’s acknowledgment marked a stark reversal from previous denials that Kerry was on any boat whatsoever.

A “CBS This Morning” producer spotted Kerry on his boat Wednesday afternoon on Nantucket, where Kerry has a vacation home. When “CBS This Morning” senior producer Mosheh Oinounou tweeted about the sighting, Psaki issued a denial, calling the tweet “completely inaccurate” and said Kerry has been “working all day and on the phone dealing with the crisis in Egypt.”

Also on Wednesday afternoon, the White House released a photo of the president and his national security team meeting in the situation Room. Kerry was not present in the photo, but his office said he did participate in the meeting via a secure phone line.

On Thursday night, CBS News obtained a photo of Kerry on his boat and sent it to the State Department, asking whether they still stand by their denial that Kerry was on a boat.

The response: “Yes.”

Now, I don’t think it much matters where Kerry was when the coup was going down. Granted, the military had announced a timeline ahead of time, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise. But even secretaries of state can’t be on duty 24/7 it’s not as if the Egyptian generals were taking orders from Foggy Bottom. And, to the extent that Kerry’s input mattered as to US policy—to the extent the US has a policy, which is far from clear—we live in a golden age of communication technology.

I do, however, find the State Department lying about Kerry’s whereabouts—even after presented with photographic evidence—at the very least bizarre and quite possibly troubling.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I do, however, find the State Department lying about Kerry’s whereabouts—even after presented with photographic evidence—at the very least bizarre and quite possibly troubling.

    It’s really nothing more than super sensitive image management in a day of hyper partisanship where anything, and I mean anything, can be an excuse for a political attack. Than again, they may have just been wrong with the first statement, then doubled down out of embarrassment at the fact that they had made a mistake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  2. Sad state of affairs says:

    Double standards?

    During the Bush Administration, GW went to “clear brush” on his ranch and took more vacations than any other president. (a record of 1020 days)

    Yet today, if a democrat should vacation… IMPEACH !!!!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 10

  3. Jenos Idanian says:

    Wow, it only took two comments to bring the eeevil Boooosh into the discussion.

    But back to Doug’s point… if it was no big deal, why lie about it?

    Because, as noted, the administration is so hypersensitive to their image that their first reaction to any kind of possible crisis is to lie and try to spin things to make them look good.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 22

  4. Caj says:

    Oh my God! A Democrat taking some time off! The world will come to and end. No matter that President Bush was MIA most of the time down in Crawford while all manner of things were going on in the country and around the world. Yes, this just has to stop, all elected Democrats must NEVER take one minute off at all to relax and unwind. All must man their posts 24/7, all year long. He has thrown away all communication devices of course so he won’t be talking to the President over the latest developments anywhere. Yes, he has washed his hands of the whole affair and things will have to play out the best way they can. It really is pathetic how much has been made of this, but of course Kerry is a Democrat so it’s much more important that this breaking news get out there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  5. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Caj: Once again, Caj… if it’s so unimportant and irrelevant, why did they feel the need to lie about it?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

  6. Dave says:

    Another pointless lie that simply shows that lying has become a reflex in the Obama administration. Besides, who cares if Lurch was on his yacht or not? Obama is so stuck on stupid when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood that it doesn’t even matter.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 12

  7. Caj says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It would have made no difference. It was John Kerry! He’s on a boat! End of story! The country is not being looked after just because he spent a some time on a boat! It’s all a huge fuss over nothing….as usual!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  8. edmondo says:

    The State Department should have just checked with the French spy agency to find out where Kerry was. See, this phone and internet surveillance shit does have an upside!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  9. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Caj: It would have made no difference.

    Then why lie? Why not just give out the truth?

    Come on, Caj, you know the next line… it’s a State Department Classic.

    “At this point, what difference does it make?”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 14

  10. Jenos Idanian says:

    @edmondo: Your ideas are itnriguing to me, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. Tyrell says:

    @Sad state of affairs: Eisenhower spent a lot of time at Augusta golf club, yet is now regarded as a very effective president in a critical time of history.
    Kerry should make clear to Egypt that US foreign aid will come with some requirements,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  12. al-Ameda says:

    I think the lesson here is that – with all the crap going on in all corners of the world today – what any high government official should do is stay at his or her desk 24/7 and not go anywhere or do anything outside the office.

    We now know that if Kerry had not been on that boat, that Morsi would (or would not) have been toppled from power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  13. bill says:

    @Caj: in this day of cell phone meetings etc., that’s true- but why would they deny he was on his boat like it’s a crime or something? and this was CBS, not Fox News they were lying to. the need to lie about things from the get go is just a tad seedy, well it was when the republicans did it at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  14. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Gee whiz, up until now boats have been very very good for Secretary Kerry !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  15. CB says:

    WORSE. THAN. WATERGATE.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  16. anjin-san says:

    @ al-Ameda

    Clearly, Kerry should have been in the Batcave, with the Batplane fueled up and ready to go. There are reports Kerry has been seen not wearing his utility belt…

    Expect Issa to hold hearings. Robin may get immunity, but Alfred is going under the bus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: I think the lesson here is that – with all the crap going on in all corners of the world today – what any high government official should do is stay at his or her desk 24/7 and not go anywhere or do anything outside the office.

    No, the lesson here is that just because they’ll lie about the little crap that doesn’t mean anything, we can absolutely trust them to not lie about the big things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  18. anjin-san says:

    It’s always interesting when a serial liar such as Jenos demands honesty in others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

  19. Mattt says:

    Why the assumption that anyone was lying? People make mistakes, and even flacks want to avoid getting caught in a lie. The most likely explanation would seem to be that Psaki knew Kerry had been on the phone from Nantucket with the President and various ME leaders, so when he heard about a picture of Kerry on a boat he assumed the photo was old, or fake. But it turns out Kerry may have been on the phone, AND on his boat….

    NEWS FLASH: The Secretary of State has a secure cell phone! What will they think of next?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  20. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Then why lie? Why not just give out the truth?

    Something about hyperpartisanship making mountains out of molehills.

    Innocuous truth, like how John McCain has an adopted Bangladeshi daughter, can be used by political rivals with no interest in telling that truth for nefarious gain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  21. Geraldine Jones says:

    @Tillman: That’s right. The devil made them do it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  22. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Tillman: Something about hyperpartisanship making mountains out of molehills.

    So, instead of telling the truth and having a one-day blip of a story, why not tell an easily-disprovable lie and add to the State Department’s long history of trying to BS the American people? Yeah, that’ll show everyone how we’re being governed by the Best and the Brightest.

    Here’s how it could have been done: “Secretary Kerry is enjoying the holiday, but remains in constant secure communication with his office. I have no particulars regarding whether or not he went on his boat or stayed on dry land, nor do I have any interest in finding out, as it is completely irrelevant to his performance of his duties.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  23. Pinky says:

    I agree with the article. There was no reason for Kerry to not be on a boat, and there was no reason for the State Department to say that Kerry wasn’t on a boat. This is the kind of thing that should cost the spokesman a job, but doesn’t say anything about President Obama, or even Kerry. I guess someone could play politics with it and say that it suggests a policy of deceit at State, but that would be more a wild shot at Clinton than at anyone else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pinky: This is the kind of thing that should cost the spokesman a job, but doesn’t say anything about President Obama, or even Kerry.

    While the lying doesn’t reflect on Obama and Kerry, the followup definitely does. After all, “personnel is policy” and the quickest way to demonstrate what is acceptable behavior by underlings and what is unacceptable behavior is to accept or not accept inappropriate behavior.

    Right now, the first response seems to be to blame the people noting the lying, not to have any repercussions for the liar. If that’s what continues, then we know that such lies are acceptable behavior with Kerry and Obama, and we can expect more lies.

    See Susan Rice, for example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  25. bill says:

    ok, his wife is in bad health- let’s get off his back for a while. he can telecommute like anyone else if need be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    See Susan Rice, for example.

    Benghazi … the worst scandal in American history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  27. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    the liar.

    It’s kind of funny. George Zimmerman lied to Trayvon Martin’s parent’s faces in court. His wife lied to the judge. His lawyer lied about the video “friends beating up a homeless man.”

    Yet you pretty much have “I love George” tattooed on your ass.

    But the notion of someone affiliated with Obama lying? That gets you to foaming at the mouth.

    O

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  28. slimslowslider says:

    wow jenos used the “subscribe to your newsletter” bit? good times!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: But the notion of someone affiliated with Obama lying? That gets you to foaming at the mouth.

    Actually, it makes me yawn, it’s that frequent. I feel I should trot out My Shocked Face when it happens.

    And please denounce yourself for bringing up the Zimmerman case on a thread completely unrelated to the matter. Then, for penance, read this legal analysis why the judge should have issued a directed verdict of Not Guilty in that case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  30. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Then, for penance, read this legal analysis why the judge should have issued a directed verdict of Not Guilty in that case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0